The Summer Cold

There’s a chill in the air.

By Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

Icould feel it coming on: the chills, the sweating, the shivering. Then the sneezing started, followed by the coughing and watery eyes and runny nose. I had taken every precaution to keep this from happening. I always made sure to bundle up and to have my jackets and sweaters with me whenever I left the house to go outside into the 90º heat. I guess the only other thing I could have done to prevent this summer cold from coming on is to have given up eating out. Which means that I would actually starve to death. Death by starvation or freeze to death. Those seem to be my two options for the summer.

Don’t they know that by the time I have walked from my car to the door of the restaurant (or any inside establishment, actually) that I am dripping wet and that the blast of arctic air that hits me upon entering the building immediately induces nucleation? I am literally frozen upon contact. And, I’m not in a good mood when I’m cold. And, I am almost always in a good mood. The only two exceptions that I can think of to this are when I am cold, and when I am hungry. It doesn’t make for a good start to the evening when I can see my breath form into ice crystals right before my very eyes as I walk through the door. That means I’m two for two for the night: Hungry (which is why I came to the restaurant in the first place) and cold.

Usually I remember to take my jackets with me, and I pity the poor shivering souls who have forgotten to bring theirs. Watching them freeze always reminds me of the time that I neglected to bring my winter wear to a restaurant with me one sultry summer night. On this particular evening we were dining at one of Birmingham’s nicest restaurants. It was an especially brutal hot and humid evening and I was tricked into believing that I could not possibly need a sweater or jacket. But the temperature inside the restaurant was at least ten below. And, I do believe they even sat us under a direct vent. Even my thoughtful and considerate husband, who usually wears a jacket to dine at this particular restaurant, had decided to forgo wearing it this night.

Given this fact, I was left with no alternative but to literally pull the tablecloth off the table and wrap myself inside it. You would think I would be embarrassed, wouldn’t you? But nothing embarrasses you as much as turning a terrible shade of purple, way past the pretty blue shade that brings out my eyes. Luckily, an older gentleman dining nearby saw my predicament and took pity on me (or maybe he was just embarrassed to be seen sitting near someone wearing a tablecloth) and he gallantly took off his jacket and gave it to me to wear. It was so nice and cozy and warm. It thawed me out just in time for the main course. It was a pity he had to leave before I was finished. I did everything I could to keep his jacket; I ignored him. I offered him money for it. I would have even offered him sex for it but it was too cold for me to take off my clothes. Nothing worked. I even offered to deliver it to him the next day, personally. Still the answer was no. I had to give it back to him. Now that I was warmed up, I felt even colder having to take it back off. I ordered a pot of very hot coffee.

At one time I relied on having access to my husband’s jacket if I became chilled, but after this incident I swore that I would never again leave home without my own. And I have kept several in my car ever since then.

In fact, my North Face jacket that I keep in my trunk recently came in very handy. Last week I was in a meeting and in the middle of the power point presentation the screen suddenly froze. It just quit working. It actually froze to death. We were adjourned and all went outside to defrost in the sun. Of course, in no time at all sweat was dripping down my back. I knew that this would turn to ice once I stepped foot back inside the building. I bundled up into my jacket and headed back into the arctic tundra, sweaty and hot under the jacket but with my exposed face frozen. And, now, obviously, the sniffles and sneezing and coughing and watery eyes have returned. It seems that even my fleece jacket couldn’t prevent me from getting sick.

The heat and humidity in Alabama always bring the summer cold. Bless you.

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